We go on to 2 Cor 1:8-14
v8: We: Referring to himself, Timothy and all the saints in Achaia.
- Brethren: Paul is addressing believers.
- Our trouble: Tribulation. Paul, and those who were with him, were faithful and obedient to the Word and commandments of G-d. This fidelity to the Word caused them to suffer.
- Burdened: Afflicted greatly.
- Beyond measure: Beyond description. Paul, who had so much experience with G-d moving in his life, found the tribulation they had to endure in Asia beyond intense.
- Above strength: Beyond power. Paul did not see any power that could deliver him from this suffering, this burden that he was enduring.
- Despaired: It was so intense that even Paul, a man of faith and for all intents and purposes a super apostle, was in despair. He was so full of discouragement that at that point he would have chosen death above life.
v9: Sentence of death: They had received a death sentence for serving G-d…and G-d allowed it to happen. G-d taught them principles through that suffering. We would do well to pay attention to these principles, as we are approaching a time where walking in faith and being obedient to what G-d has called us to do is also going to bring suffering and perhaps even a death sentence upon us.
- G-d who raises the dead: Resurrection is related to victory. It is related to the Kingdom. Believing in the promises of G-d, related to the resurrection, related to the Kingdom, will help us to endure, to persevere, to seek G-d’s comfort so that we are able to continue on.
Note: Yeshua repeatedly told His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem, that He was going to be betrayed, that He was going to be delivered over to the chief priests and elders and that they were going to put Him to death (Yeshua had a death sentence placed on Him). He also emphasised to His disciples that He would rise from the dead on the third day. Even though everything happened exactly as Yeshua had told them it was going to, not one of them went to the tomb on the third day expecting it to be empty because He had risen. They went there to give Him a proper burial. They did not believe His promise of the resurrection. When we do not believe in the promise of the resurrection we will not walk in faithfulness. We will be like the disciples who locked themselves in a room because they were scared or fearful. However, when we have faith in the resurrection it causes us not to trust in ourselves but to trust in G-d – the only G-d who raises the dead.
v10: Great… death: Paul is not talking about physical death – he is talking about something far greater than just losing our physical lives. He is talking about spiritual or eternal death, related to G-d’s judgment, that we have been delivered from.
- Deliver: Rescue. We can think of G-d as our rescuer. He rescued us in the past, He is still rescuing us today, and He will continue to rescue us into the future from ‘so great a death’. This is why Yeshua died – so that we could be delivered from this great spiritual death and eternal separation from G-d.
- He will still deliver us: This is related to the final resurrection (still future).
v11: Note: This is a difficult verse to translate and there is a great divergence on how people have understood it (see biblehub.com).
- Helping (together): Working together or helping one another for a common purpose. We jointly share in this hope of deliverance and so we should also jointly share with working together and helping each other.
- Us: Paul is speaking about his and his companions need of help and how they are being helped by these people in Corinth (‘you’) and other places – through prayer and through gifts.
- Thanks may be given: Because of what Paul was doing with his life (the way he was suffering but also the way in which he was being comforted and therefore able to endure) resulted in people giving thanks to G-d. Many people were providing gifts for and praying for Paul and his companions. These prayers and gifts helped and assisted Paul to keep on persevering. As Paul kept on persevering his life continued to impact many, and these in turn would then give thanks to G-d, they would be encouraged, they would begin to endure, and they too would be comforted.
- Many persons: Many people.
- Gift: We do not know exactly what gift Paul is referring to. This word (charisma) often refers to spiritual provision – what the Holy Spirit provides for us so that we can serve G-d. The context here is however probably not referring to this kind of gift.
v12: Our: Paul is not speaking personally but is speaking on behalf of himself and others.
- Boasting: The boasting that Paul is doing here is not rooted in pride. He is exalting G-d for His faithfulness in Paul’s life.
- Is this: Literally written ‘This it is’. The word order is flipped in the Greek. This draws our attention to it and grammatically indicates how important Pauls next words are and the fact that we need to pay attention to them.
- Conducted ourselves in the world: Paul (and those with him) behaved with G-dly holiness and sincerity toward all people.
- The testimony of our conscience: What we ‘instinctively’ know to be true. The conscience is very important. G-d has placed a conscience in every single human being. G-d is free to speak to anyone (those who are saved and those who are unsaved) through their conscience. An unbeliever can, for example, read Scripture and fall under conviction. If a person is totally depraved it means that they are no longer unable to understand anything from G-d – they have a seared conscience (1 Tim 4:2)
- Simplicity: This word is better translated ‘G-dly holiness’ (see biblehub.com)
- G-dly holiness and G-dly sincerity: G-d bears witness that what they were doing was holy and sincere. Note: G-d, who He is, is the very definition of what holy, good and righteous is. G-d does not meet those standards (He is the standard), He sets the standards.
- Grace: G-d’s grace brings about salvation. It enables us to enter into His Kingdom – not based on our works but based on Messiah’s finished work at the cross. But G-d’s grace is greater for even more than this. His grace works within us, after salvation, so that we are enabled to carry out G-d’s will for our lives. His grace regenerates us. It changes us and transforms us into a people who are pleasing to G-d – a people who delight in doing His will.
- More abundantly toward you: Paul invested a great deal in this congregation at Corinth – a place of perversion and unrighteousness. He wanted this congregation to have a powerful testimony in this location.
v13: We are not writing… other things: If we put into action what we already know, our lives would be so different, so much more powerful for the things of G-d. We need to take hold of what we have read and what we have understood, and we need to act on it.
- Until the end: Paul’s desire is that what they have understood and what they have read will not only be for the here and now but that it will continue on with them until the end (until the Day of the L-rd Yeshua…ie until the rapture).
v14: You have understood us in part: They knew, in part, the motivation of Paul (why he did what he did) and the motivation of those who were with him (Timothy, Silas etc). One day, in the Kingdom, they will know and understand this more fully.
- We are your boast: These people in Corinth are going to exalt G-d for the ministry that they received from Paul and these men.
- You also are ours: When we minister to others, bless them, disciple them, and lead them to salvation there is going to be an eternal effect. G-d is not unjust to forget our works and He remembers all of our deeds (Heb 6:10). Paul and Timothy had led this congregation into faith by sharing the gospel with them. Based upon this Paul knows that he is going to be thankful and exalt in G-d because of them. Paul will reap an eternal reward because of them.
- The Day of the L-rd Yeshua: This is a reference to the rapture, or our Blessed Hope. This is the day when believers are going to receive their reward – the outcome of their faith and faithfulness.
Note: There are two completely different days mentioned in the New Testament: The Day of the L-rd and the Day of Messiah (as is mentioned here). The Day of the L-rd refers to a Day of G-d’s judgment, the outpouring of His wrath. The Day of the L-rd Yeshua, on the other hand, speaks of the Day of the rapture, our Blessed Hope. The Day of Messiah is specifically related to believers, the Day of the L-rd is not for believers – it is a day when the enemies of G-d, those who try to thwart His plans and purposes, receive their just dues (are judged).